A few members of our team, including our Board Chair (Jay Francis with Larry H. Miller Group of Companies) and our Board Vice Chair (Mayor Bob Stevenson with Layton City), recently attended the St. George Area Economic Summit in St. George, Utah.

I learned a lot about what’s going on in the southern part of our state at the 22nd annual conference. There are several exciting developments in the area, including Tech Ridge at the old airport site on the bluff, new hotels, mixed-use centers, and a massive 3,500 acre planned community, Desert Colors, under development by Clyde Companies in partnership with SITLA. Congratulation to St. George Area Economic Development on a successful conference and thank you for letting us celebrate your success with you!

Although all of the corporate growth and development in Southern Utah is exciting, through this note I really want to share an observation that touched and inspired me.

While in St. George I met recently elected Mayor Donia Jessop of Hilldale. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mayor Jessop’s story, click here: http://www.newsweek.com/woman-abused-flds-cult-elected-first-female-mayor-712667

To put it simply, Mayor Jessop is inspiring. She’s both the first woman and the first mayor to hold office in Hilldale without the support of the FLDS church. Mayor Jessop’s personal story is remarkable. She has incredible goals for her community and she is undertaking the task with vigor, humility, and authenticity. The work ahead of Mayor Jessop is Herculean: she faces modernizing a community that has been insular for generations and whose economic baseline is far behind many other parts of the state. But the amazing thing is that Mayor Jessop is not endeavoring along her path alone! I was so touched to watch every single business or government leader Mayor Jessop interacted with demonstrating a genuine interest in her story. I observed leader after leader engaging in thoughtful conversation, and where appropriate, offering advice, encouragement, and support. Through our partnership with Washington County, EDCUtah will provide economic development strategic planning and support to Mayor Jessop and Hilldale City, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

So that’s what’s up down south! There are amazing people who are trying to make a positive impact on their community through service, and there are awesome partners all over the state who will bring resources and support to ensure the best possible outcome.